Black men’s arrest at Philadelphia Starbucks prompts city probes amid national outcry

Philadelphia’s mayor’s office in addition to Police Department have begun separate investigations into the arrest of two African American men waiting to meet an acquaintance at a Center City Starbucks on Thursday after a video of the incident was widely shared on social media, triggering national outrage.

Mayor Kenney said in a statement Saturday afternoon of which the city’s Commission on Human Relations has been asked to examine Starbucks’ policies in addition to procedures, including whether its training includes safeguards against “implicit bias,” or unconscious stereotyping.

“We are reaching out to Starbucks to begin a discussion about of which,” he said.

READ MORE >> Starbucks CEO wants to apologize ‘face-to-face’ to black men arrested at Philly store

A police spokesman, meanwhile, said the department’s internal affairs unit can be probing the incident at the coffee shop at 18th in addition to Spruce Streets. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said earlier Saturday of which officers had acted appropriately.

The video, which was posted by Philadelphia-based author Melissa DePino on Thursday, shows at least six Philadelphia police officers taking the two men into custody without resistance. By 5 p.m. Saturday, the video had gathered nearly 4.3 million views.


inside clip, the two men can be seen being escorted coming from a table at the cafe in handcuffs while a white man, who has been identified as Philadelphia real estate investor Andrew Yaffe, asks why officers were called in addition to attempts to explain to police of which the two men were waiting for him.

“What did they get called for, because there were two black guys sitting here, meeting me?” Yaffe asks inside video. “What did they do?”

Commissioner Ross said in a video posted to Facebook on Saturday afternoon of which police responded around 4:40 p.m. Thursday to a 911 call reporting a disturbance. The men had refused to leave the cafe after asking to use the restroom without placing an order, which violated Starbucks policy, staff members told police.

The men were detained after they refused officers’ requests to leave as well, Ross said.

“The police did not just happen upon of which event — they did not just walk into Starbucks to get a coffee,” he said. “They were called there, for a service, in addition to of which service had to do with quelling a disturbance, a disturbance of which had to do with trespassing. These officers did absolutely nothing wrong.”

DePino said in an interview with the Inquirer in addition to Daily News of which she posted the video, which was recorded by a woman sitting next to her at the coffee shop, immediately after the men’s arrest, which she said involved about eight officers.

“They did not raise their voices; they were not confrontational,” DePino said of the men.  Police “put them in handcuffs in addition to essentially perp-walked them out of the store.”

DePino said she was told by Yaffe of which the men were family friends of his in addition to of which they had been waiting to meet him about a real estate deal. Reached by phone, Yaffe declined to comment.

Attorney Lauren Wimmer, who agreed to represent the men pro bono after being contacted by Yaffe, said she was told at 12:30 a.m. Friday of which the two were being released coming from custody. She declined to identify the men.

Ross said the men were released after officers became aware of which Starbucks “no longer was interested in prosecuting.”

As the video of the men’s detention spread, Starbucks was accused by some of tolerating racism by its staff. Many on social media asserted of which the men would certainly not have been treated similarly if they had been white.

“Waiting in a Starbucks while black can be a crime?” tweeted the Roots’ Questlove, a Philadelphia native.

The 18th in addition to Spruce location was busy Saturday afternoon despite scattered protests outside the coffee shop. Demonstrator Toni Bowers, who lives nearby, said she was “outraged” by the incident.

As pressure grew, Starbucks released a statement Saturday expressing regret about the incident.

“We apologize to the two individuals in addition to our customers in addition to are disappointed of which led to an arrest,” the chain said. “We take these matters seriously in addition to clearly have more work to do when the item comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies in addition to will continue to engage with the community in addition to the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”

Kenney said in his Saturday afternoon statement calling for a review of Starbucks policies of which the incident “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”

“Like all retail establishments in our city, Starbucks should be a place where everyone can be treated the same, no matter the colour of their skin,” he said. “Starbucks has issued an apology, nevertheless of which can be not enough.”

Police spokesman Troy T. Brown, meanwhile, said the department’s internal affairs investigation can be “active in addition to ongoing.”

“We are a department of which’s always looking to enhance in addition to improve upon ways of which we do things,” Ross said in his Facebook video. “In cases like of which, we will examine of which one, in addition to similar ones to see if there are things of which we can do better.”





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Source : Black men’s arrest at Philadelphia Starbucks prompts city probes amid national outcry